“The sea has never been friendly to man.” Joseph Conrad’s Topoi in the Digital Game Sunless Sea

Magdalena Kozyra


The aim of this paper is to find connections between the digital game Sunless Sea (Failbetter Games, 2015) and Joseph Conrad’s novels, particularly the ones touching on the subject of sea voyage. Sunless Sea is an exploration role-playing game which focuses on the topics of sailors’ loneliness, dual nature of the sea, and above all, player’s inevitable failure. These tropes are shown not only in the narrative structure of the game, but also in its mechanics and design choices. I believe that the game is heavily inspired by the notion of maritime life created by Conrad, as indicated by the quote from The Mirror of the Sea opening the game: “The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”

Słowa kluczowe: Joseph Conrad, Sunless Sea, digital games, cRPG, sea, sailor

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